Eagle golf columnist Richard Lord has had the opportunity to sum up the golf career of the late Tom Sullivan better than I ever could.
Sullivan, the longtime head professional at Great Barrington’s Wyantenuck Country Club, died late Tuesday when he was struck by a falling tree while driving on the course to make certain that there were no golfers out there in the dangerous storm.
Sullivan, 71, was a member of the Northeastern New York PGA Hall of Fame. To get there, you have to be really good at your job. But Tom Sullivan was a Hall of Fame person too.
I remember one of the more recent MIAA state tournaments to be held at Wyantenuck, and Sully made sure that there was more than enough pizza for the high school golfers who came to Great Barrington from the four corners of the Commonwealth.
While Sully was huge in the golfing community, he was probably just as well known in the basketball community.
Not only is daughter Sarah a college player at Framingham State and a former Monument Mountain team member, but on a cold January night, seeing Tom and his wife Kathy in a gym was a normal occurrence.
It wasn’t just visiting the Amsler Campus Center last winter when the Rams played at MCLA, and Sarah Sullivan was on the court with one of her best friends, former Mount Everett standout Gwendolyn Carpenter. Find some hoops, find Tom Sullivan.
He’d show up at Mount Everett to watch Carpenter play. Visit Curry Hicks Cage for a Western Massachusetts basketball tournament semifinal, no problem. You might have seen the Sullivans in Chandler Gym for a Williams game.
Tom Sullivan was Mr. Golf, but he might have loved basketball more.
In fact, when we were standing on the front porch at Wyantenuck waiting for Country Club of Pittsfield head pro Eric Mabee to come across the street after winning the NENYPGA Tour Championship Cup title on Tuesday, it was Tom Sullivan who lamented what the COVID-19 pandemic was doing to our sports.
He was planning to retire in November, and would have plenty of time to watch all the basketball he could. But the pandemic has limited schedules, and even his daughter’s Framingham State team isn’t going to start playing until the second semester.
Here’s hoping there’s a hoop game going on in heaven.
In case you missed Dominic Dastoli’s documentary on Mark Belanger, you’ll get another chance to see it today.
Pittsfield Community Television will air the program twice. The first broadcast is at 1 p.m., and the second will be at 8 p.m. You can find the documentary on PCTV Access Pittsfield Channel 1301, and PCTV Select, available on Roku and Apple TV.
The documentary is airing on this date because it is the 50th anniversary of the Baltimore Orioles beating the Cincinnati Reds in the first game of the 1970 World Series.
Jim Palmer gave up three early runs, but the Big Red Machine got nothing over the final six innings. The Orioles took the lead in the seventh inning when Brooks Robinson hit a solo home run off of losing pitcher Gary Nolan. Veteran Pete Richert recorded the save.
It was Belanger who put the final out in the book, when he caught a liner off the bat of Bobby Tolan to retire the Reds.
That was one of those World Series where the Orioles won the first three games, but couldn’t complete the sweep.
Five days after the first game, Mike Cuellar got the win in Baltimore’s 9-3 win over the Reds at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore to set off a Charm City celebration.
That World Series was interesting for many reasons. One, it was the final World Series where every game was either played or was scheduled to be played in the daytime. When the Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates played in 1971, Game 4 was played at night. It was the only game played at night in that series.
It was also the first year of Riverfront Stadium. Riverfront was, by and large, a carbon copy of Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh and Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. All three were bowls and multi-purpose stadiums, as the three cities had their NFL teams play there as well.
Oh yes, unlike the MLB Network broadcast, these airings of the Belanger documentary will run a full 70 minutes and without commercials. MLB Network had trimmed the documentary to fit its one-hour time slot.
So, sit back and enjoy it.
As I write my first weekend column to be published Saturdays, I had the Yankees-Rays American League Division Series game playing over my shoulder in the den.
Historically, games that are win or go home have tons of drama, lots of excitement, and huge amounts of noise from the jam-packed stadiums the games are played in.
But in the case of Friday night, it was an empty Petco Park in San Diego, with just some piped in crowd noise.
I was on Twitter and saw that former Red Sox pitcher — he of the bloody sock — was Tweeting about baseball. So I asked Curt Schilling how does playing in front of no fans impact how an “ace” pitches, and would it have been easy for you?
“I cannot honestly answer that,” he Tweeted back to me. “Crowds were a HUGE part of it for me. Home and Road. Getting 40K to stand and scream was almost, and I say ALMOST, as exhilarating as making 55K Yankee fans shut up. (But I loved pitching in Yankee Stadium as much as anywhere).